By Joe Anne Hart, FDA Chief Legislative Officer
Dentistry continues to evolve and change as innovation progresses and technology advances. As this happens, it is important for individuals who have authority to change policies that may affect the way you practice dentistry be aware of the importance of education and training in dentistry. Let us look at why it is important for YOU – as a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Florida Dental Association (FDA) – to advocate for your profession.
- If you are silent, then others who may not share your interest, will have a louder voice and influence over elected officials impacting your profession.
- You are the dental expert – use your voice to help educate elected officials (local, state and federal) on policies that will have an impact on your patients and your profession.
- People do not understand the level of training required to practice as a licensed dentist. Do not leave your skill level to the imagination of others – be vocal about your profession.
- Invest in your profession and reap the benefits of knowing and understanding how the FDA and the ADA represent your interests.
- There are national groups spending time and money advocating to change the way dentistry is practiced. You must be pro-active and develop relationships with your elected leaders, who will come to you first as their dental resource.
- Dentistry is not a technical license – it is a comprehensive dental degree provided to those who are proficient in comprehensive dentistry, and later afforded the privilege of acquiring a dental license to practice.
- Scope of practice is pitched as a solution when groups try to address access to care issues – it is important for policymakers to get the facts about why expanding scope may have a negative impact on patient care.
- For the FDA to be effective, we must speak with one voice. Participating in events like Dentists’ Day on the Hill, shows legislators that you believe in your profession and are willing to get involved to protect it.
- Investing in your profession by becoming a member of the Florida Dental Association Political Action Committee (FDAPAC) Century Club helps secure resources to support dental-friendly candidates.
- And last, but not least …If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu. The FDA works every day to ensure you have representation at the table and that policies are thoroughly vetted and debated at all levels of government. We cannot do this without YOU! Don’t sit on the sidelines as a spectator. Take an active role and advocate for your profession!